Seneca County Park District board welcomed a new board member, approved a $72,000 budget and took the first steps toward a partnership with Mercy Tiffin Hospital during its meeting Wednesday.
Former park director Roland Zimmerman participated in his first meeting since he was appointed to a three-year term by Seneca County Probate Court Judge Jay Meyer.
Zimmerman, who retired in January, fills an open seat on the five-member board, replacing Tom Bartlett who retired in January.
The other four park board members are Chairman Roy Zinn, Jim Nordholt, Carl Miller and Russ Rife.
The board approved its 2012 budget, which includes $64,550 in expenses, $62,130 in expected income and a carryover of $9,900 from this year.
The board also approved a budget of nearly $11,000 for Out & About Preschool, which is separate from the park district. The board increased the salaries of preschool administrator and head teacher Linda Rose from $300 to $350 per month and teacher assistant Tammy Vargo from $250 to $275 per month.
Charlie Ervin, senior director of facilities and campus planning from Mercy Tiffin Hospital, presented the board with an idea to create a natural area with hiking trails in a 22-acre woodlot on hospital property.
He said he wanted to consult with park personnel because of their expertise and he is impressed with the county parks he visits frequently.
Ervin said the project is part of a plan to make the hospital's 135 acres "pedestrian friendly."
"We're a health-care facility and we want to promote wellness in the community," he said.
Zinn appointed Director Pat Obringer, board member Zimmerman and former board member Bartlett to a committee to coordinate with hospital officials on project details.
"For flat northwest Ohio it has a fair amount of character," Zinn said. He had walked the area before the meeting.
"This is the type of thing we, as a park district, look for," Nordholt said. There is no property to buy and there is the potential for volunteers already in place.
The board heard the final cost of reconstructing the log cabin at Garlo Heritage Nature Preserve was about $6,200 and volunteers tallied 4,129 hours. Another log cabin is ready to be erected and volunteers are willing, Zinn said, but at least $7,000 is needed to cover costs before they can begin.